Havant relish quest for double joy

Chris Stone
Chris Stone
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HAVANT are gearing themselves up for a massive double-header weekend of league and knock-out cricket.

On Sunday they travel to Normandy (Guildford) as they take on the Surrey side in the group final of the Clubs National Knock-Out competition.

Before that, however, they face another journey to take on old rivals South Wilts in the Southern League premier division tomorrow.

Havant captain Ben Walker admits it is a tough schedule but believes his squad are physically and mentally prepared for it.

‘They are a demanding couple of games but these are the big matches we all want to play in,’ said Walker.

‘The National Cup is a competition we have had some success in.

‘We have reached the semi-finals a couple of times but not quite been able to take that one extra step.

‘Every club has aspirations to be crowned national champions because it is a massive feat.

‘This game is our very own little mini final and you can never say never in cricket.

‘It is a game we will be taking very seriously.

‘We will need to be focused because in a 45-over game things can happen very quickly.

‘You can find yourself behind the eight ball and struggling to recover it back.

‘We will have to make sure we are physically and mentally ready for the challenge.’

Havant go into the game without two key players Brad Taylor and Richard Hindley.

Taylor ruled himself out of contention after being selected for Hampshire to play Lancashire at Old Trafford.

The vastly experienced all-rounder Richard Hindley is unavailable.

‘Though losing these two is a blow it can work in a positive way with others looking to step up and make a mark,’ said Walker.

Havant possess a number of match-winners in their side including talented pair Rob Gibson and Chris Stone.

They are yet to click this season but Walker is backing them to fire.

‘They have a massive ability to be able to change games,’ he added.

‘I feel we have a good balance of experience and raw talent.’

Walker knows his team must not allow the cup game to dominate their thinking as they have the league first.

‘It would be good to go into the knock-out game with a league win behind us because momentum is important,’ said the skipper.

‘We would like to get on a roll and take that into Sunday.’

Hindley is available for the league game and his experience could prove influential.

Havant have named a squad of 12 for the knock-out game.

They will delay their final choice until they arrive.

Havant: (from) Walker, Ransley, Gorvin, Gibson, Stone, Bulled, Morgan, McCoy, Prentice, Matthews, Loat, Hopson